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70IN70
June 26, 2011 9:16 PM   Subscribe

Last month, California decided to shutter 70 of its 278 state parks. "70in70 is an attempt to create memories before history outpaces us: 70 state parks are slated for closure this year, and we intend to visit each one within the next 70 days."
posted by SpringAquifer (89 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Interesting, some of the parks do really look like valid cuts. So far I'm up to the Elk Reserve that despite helping to bring the species back from the brink of extinction apparently doesn't have any elk anymore?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:29 PM on June 26, 2011


So...what actually happens to the parks after they are "shuttered"?

The NYT articles doesn't say. Is the land sold off to private investors?
posted by jet_manifesto at 9:39 PM on June 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I liked the 1930s solution better: put people to work opening and improving parks.

Part of the reason they can shut parks is because outdoor recreation is way down, people don't go into the outdoors as much anymore.
posted by stbalbach at 9:40 PM on June 26, 2011 [18 favorites]


Whenever local and state budgets fall they close parks and libraries, just to keep the populace in line.

Side note: I hate watermarked photos. Most of the time they wouldn't be worth stealing anyway. Turn off your big fat ego.

That said, interesting project. I'll be checking back.
posted by cccorlew at 9:45 PM on June 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


So...what actually happens to the parks after they are "shuttered"?

I would hope the state will turn them into Department of Natural Resource lands. Basically just vast swaths of unkept land. But some of it might be sold off. If its DNR land they can reopen the park once the state has money again.
posted by Glibpaxman at 9:47 PM on June 26, 2011


I can't imagine the actual amount of use Moss Landing sees will change much if its closed. As a "state park" it's an un-maintained road and a port-a-potty next to the beach. Most of its use is by surfers who have been surfing there for years. They will keep showing up there at the break of dawn to check the surf regardless of what the state thinks of it. I have memories of surfing Moss going back to when I was about 12 years old. This past winter I broke my leg surfing out there, and I was carried back to my car by the same friend I first surfed there with when I was 12 (and another friend).

The significance of Moss Landing to the people who care about it has nothing to do whatsoever with what the state of California thinks of it.

I can't really comment on most of the other parks done so far, but I can only imagine they have their own small communities that care deeply about them. I hope the closure of some of them doesn't cost people an important part of their lives.

As far as Moss Landing goes, people will keep parking along the side of the road, just like always, even if they take the port-a-potty away.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 9:50 PM on June 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


cccorlew writes "I hate watermarked photos. Most of the time they wouldn't be worth stealing anyway. Turn off your big fat ego."

I hate 'em too but at least these ones are monochromatic. And considering the awareness angle of the blog it makes sense to try and preserve that when the photos are inevitably copied and posted unattributed. What I really wish is that higher resolutions were available.
posted by Mitheral at 9:54 PM on June 26, 2011


This is pretty bizarre - there's a real malaise afflicting the US at the moment, that's so obvious. you've got an infected soul. We're (Victoria, Australia) still making new parks every year, visitor levels are booming, we're loving them to death.
posted by wilful at 10:06 PM on June 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


To be honest, we here in America are pretty sick of nature. We'd rather see it on TV. Tones it down.
posted by Nomyte at 10:12 PM on June 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


So...what actually happens to the parks after they are "shuttered"?

All around the perimeter of thepark, thatched mulch is rolled up like a carpet, into 10 foot high berms.
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:16 PM on June 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


So...what actually happens to the parks after they are "shuttered"?

Probably just left as is, shuttered park land.
posted by Brian B. at 10:23 PM on June 26, 2011


So, what are Americans proud of, these days?
posted by klanawa at 10:34 PM on June 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


"Best healthcare in the world! We'll kick China's ass! U-S-A! U-S-A!"
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 10:36 PM on June 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, what are Americans proud of, these days?

TV, duh. Next?
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 10:40 PM on June 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


And our desire to NOT PAY ANY TAXES!

And we want all our stuff too.
posted by Windopaene at 10:41 PM on June 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


California has roughly 240,900 km² of protected land. This post is about the 278 State Parks, which in total account for about 5,000 km². A tiny fraction of the protected land in California. Of those being closed, even smaller.

Willful: Victoria has about 33,780 km² of protected land accounting for 14.84% of its total, compared to over 50% protected land in California. And factor in population density, California is 3 times as dense as Victoria, yet has 3 times as much protected land! California is way ahead of most places in the world even with a few small state parks closing.
posted by stbalbach at 10:42 PM on June 26, 2011 [12 favorites]


What happened to the issue with some of these parks receiving Land and Water Conservation Fund money? This article says:
Since 1965, California has received $287.3 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Written into the law is a requirement that any parks that receive the funds are required to remain open to the public. If states close parks that received the funding, the law does not require them to pay the money back, but it does require states to provide new park land of equal appraised value in a nearby location.

Also, the National Park Service could declare California ineligible for future federal parks grants if it closes parks that were purchased with land and water act funding.
posted by Houstonian at 10:49 PM on June 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


stbalbach: Part of the reason they can shut parks is because outdoor recreation is way down, people don't go into the outdoors as much anymore.

While attendance has been falling, it seems to be tracking the general health of the economy, not actually reflecting a lack of interest in the outdoors. California parks still see over 60 million visitors each year, and many parks, including our national parks, remain as crowded as ever.
posted by zsazsa at 10:51 PM on June 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


So...what actually happens to the parks after they are "shuttered"?

Depends on the park and how accessible it is. I have a fear that mountain bikers will run unchecked through a couple of my favorites and exacerbate the erosion exponentially- they already have to some extent, just because the rangers are so few these days.

Part of the reason they can shut parks is because outdoor recreation is way down, people don't go into the outdoors as much anymore.

Is this true? Because I sure haven't noticed it.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:53 PM on June 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Part of the reason they can shut parks is because outdoor recreation is way down, people don't go into the outdoors as much anymore."

cite?

This sure doesn't sound true in Colorado and doesn't seem true to me all of the times I've been in California.
posted by fieldtrip at 10:56 PM on June 26, 2011


"Part of the reason they can shut parks is because outdoor recreation is way down, people don't go into the outdoors as much anymore."

cite?


here it is

posted by vidur at 11:03 PM on June 26, 2011


the parks aren't going to be closed before July 2012 - one year from now. maybe things will be different, and people here in CA will decide Prop 13 is destroying the state, and come to understand we need to pay for things like teachers, and libraries, and state parks.

this notice is on the Reserve America website -

Alert - Important Information: There are no parks planned for closure in 2011. We are continuing to take reservations for the 2011 season. If you would like more information about the parks planned for closure in July 2012, please see www.parks.ca.gov

and this is the official state press release -

http://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/712/files/2011parkclosures_attachments20110518.pdf
posted by TMezz at 11:22 PM on June 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Stballbach, sorry but your stats are pretty out. By the US definition Victoria would also classify its State forest as protected areas, which would take our representation up to about 7.8M ha or about 35 percent.

But yes, California is far more densely populated. Which would suggest you'd have more visitors and be better able to afford to keep 'em open.
posted by wilful at 11:27 PM on June 26, 2011


This is horrible.
The number of bad covers of Big Yellow Taxi is going to increase a thousandfold.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:39 PM on June 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


To be honest, we here in America are pretty sick of nature. We'd rather see it on TV. Tones it down.

I'd rather not even see it on TV, to be honest. Nature is the part of us that can die, the organic dirt that makes a mockery of our higher ambitions, the clay and ash that puts a lie to the silicon and electricity that we use to interact with the world.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:40 PM on June 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'd rather not even see it on TV, to be honest. Nature is the part of us that can die, the organic dirt that makes a mockery of our higher ambitions, the clay and ash that puts a lie to the silicon and electricity that we use to interact with the world.

So quick to murder one's own mother. You haven't even left the womb yet.
posted by loquacious at 11:51 PM on June 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


It's an example of "Washington Monument Syndrome".
Washington Monument Syndrome, also called the "Mount Rushmore Syndrome", is the name of a political tactic allegedly used by government agencies when faced with reductions in the rate of projected increases in budget or actual budget cuts. The most visible and most appreciated service that is provided by that entity is the first to be put on the chopping block. The name derives from the National Park Service's alleged habit of saying that any cuts would lead to an immediate closure of the wildly popular Washington Monument.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:55 PM on June 26, 2011


> about 35 percent.

Still less than CA - keep making more parks and you'll catch up :)

> outdoor recreation is way down.. cite?

Ok this is hard to nail down as there are various journalistic reports saying one thing or another. So lets use a proxy with available hard data: total number of visitors to US National Parks for the past 32 years. To see the stats go here, click on "Reports", click on "Summary reports (multiple year)", then select all the years 2010-1979. Calling it "way down" was a hand wave, let's say it's "flat" because it's not keeping pace with population growth. The number of visitors in 2010 was 280k, the same as 1986, 1988, 1998, 2001 .. a chart comparing NPS visitation rates alongside US population stats would show a growing divide with population on an upcurve and NPS visitation flat ie. NPS visitation is becoming less popular per capita over time. Since this is a proxy for outdoor recreation make of it what you want, but the data is at least objective. To say the opposite, that outdoor recreation is on the rise, would have to explain why NP visits are flat or down per capita.
posted by stbalbach at 12:20 AM on June 27, 2011


California is way ahead of most places in the world even with a few small state parks closing.

California = a frog in a pot of room temperature water on the stove

"a few small state parks closing" = heat being turned up just a few degrees
posted by parrot_person at 12:29 AM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


stbalbach writes "compared to over 50% protected land in California. "

That number includes the 20% of the state in National Forests, not usually considered to be protected land because of the resource extraction. Another 15% is BLM land which again isn't protected in the park sense.

Chocolate Pickle writes "It's an example of 'Washington Monument Syndrome'. "

It doesn't seem to be that in this case, at least for the parks visited so far on the blog. IE: They aren't closing Oceano Dunes or Santa Monica State Beach.
posted by Mitheral at 1:08 AM on June 27, 2011


So...what actually happens to the parks after they are "shuttered"?

If the result is that the land is closed off to visitors but preserved and perhaps allowed to return to a wilder state, it's great. Let the bears and wolves have the parks.

But if it means no one will monitor what happens and that the idiots on motorcycles, ATVs, and snow mobiles will get to do as they like, it's rotten. I hope the bears and wolves eat them.
posted by pracowity at 1:51 AM on June 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


The one that bugs me is the Santa Cruz Mission SHP -- I hope they don't mean that the mission itself will be closed. There's a rich history there, and every time I've been, there have been visitors (including local schools on field trips). It's pretty damned unfortunate that its funding is getting cut.
posted by spiderskull at 2:02 AM on June 27, 2011


Nature is the part of us that can die, the organic dirt that makes a mockery of our higher ambitions, the clay and ash that puts a lie to the silicon and electricity that we use to interact with the world.

Without nature, we have no world. Or at least, the world will not have us.
posted by troll at 2:17 AM on June 27, 2011


This is pretty bizarre - there's a real malaise afflicting the US at the moment, that's so obvious. you've got an infected soul. We're (Victoria, Australia) still making new parks every year, visitor levels are booming, we're loving them to death.

You can't eat parks.
posted by fire&wings at 3:08 AM on June 27, 2011


So...what actually happens to the parks after they are "shuttered"?

it gets all dark and creepy in there, and then this big native american dude cries on tv.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 3:35 AM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


You can't boil a frog alive by turning the heat up slowly.
posted by humanfont at 3:41 AM on June 27, 2011


You can't eat parks.

You can eat the rich, though. And feed them to parks and then use the parks to feed the jobless poor.
posted by DU at 4:24 AM on June 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


You can't boil a frog alive by turning the heat up slowly.

That only works on humans.
posted by tommyD at 4:41 AM on June 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is pretty bizarre - there's a real malaise afflicting the US at the moment, that's so obvious. you've got an infected soul. We're (Victoria, Australia) still making new parks every year, visitor levels are booming, we're loving them to death.

We are very good at seeing "the cost of everything and the value of nothing". National pride can't compete.

Also, we've gotten very,very good at attacking money problems from the bottom up. It's almost a national sport.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:01 AM on June 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


and then this big native american dude cries on tv.

Mmmm, juicy fruit.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:26 AM on June 27, 2011


and then this big native american Italian dude cries on tv.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:36 AM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


One of the parks being closed is the Malakoff Diggins (self link), which is a sort of ironic monument to environmental legislation in America.
posted by ook at 5:46 AM on June 27, 2011


Maybe they'll start it up as a mine again, for extra irony.
posted by ook at 5:48 AM on June 27, 2011


More proof that California is not even remotely Liberal.
posted by schmod at 6:33 AM on June 27, 2011


More proof that California is not even remotely Liberal.

More proof that remote California is not Liberal.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:35 AM on June 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Rural Californians aren't the ones making these decisions.
posted by ook at 6:37 AM on June 27, 2011


Of course it's not good that parks are going to be shuttered, but is there a silver lining for some of these places in terms of nature benefitting from a lack of people? Dune recovery, no disruption of nesting habitats, that sort of thing?
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:51 AM on June 27, 2011


Smug Australians are almost as bad as smug Canadians.
posted by smackfu at 6:55 AM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rural Californians aren't the ones making these decisions.

Oh?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:12 AM on June 27, 2011


I tried to reserve a camp spot at Grand Canyon and Bryce National parks at the beginning of June and found that they were booked for the entire summer. For a population that "doesn't go out" anymore, there sure are a lot of people using the national parks. As late as the early 90's, I didn't need a reservation for a campground in even the most popular parks in the high seasons.
posted by pashdown at 7:30 AM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


meanwhile in broke-ass Michigan...
posted by Chrischris at 7:30 AM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think it might be an issue of which parks they propose to close. The really big parks will continue to be popular, in part from international travelers. Take a look at the list of parks to be closed - do you recognize any? If not, that may be part of the reason. Others seem to have close neighbors that could serve a similar purpose (for example, Limekiln is one of a number of camp sites in Big Sur). Closing museums is a (sadly) easy decision, as buildings require electricity, water and maintenance, even if you can get volunteers to be docents, and few visitors seem to really spend time in museums - browse the exhibits, read a few plaques, and back to the trail or car. Other locations are nearly impossible to "close" (Morro Strand State Beach), and won't get cleaned and sorted as they do now, but local volunteers could easily pick up the slack.

Related news: AB 42 could keep some parks open by allowing non-profits to take over for a while (the provisions in the bill will expire in 2019, as currently written).
posted by filthy light thief at 7:52 AM on June 27, 2011


Count me as someone who doesn't understand what "shuttered" means.

For example, the Shasta State Historic Park is on the list of 70. I have visited it several times. It is right off Highway 299 which goes from Redding to Whiskeytown Lake (a popular recreation site) - here are some pictures of the historic buildings. In this case, there is a vistor's center/museum that could potentially be closed down, but are they going to remove access to that road entirely?
posted by muddgirl at 8:20 AM on June 27, 2011


From talking to a few people with the various parks departments I've been told that basically they would lock gates and buildings etc. and walk away. So in theory plenty of these parks would still be accesible the way the are now anyway. Minus the buildings being locked and no bathroom facilities. The historic buildings and lack of security are my biggest fears - without maintenance and someone watching over them the costs to do repairs when things have been left to rot could far exceed the costs to provide annual preventative maintenance.

I have a fear that mountain bikers will run unchecked through a couple of my favorites and exacerbate the erosion exponentially- they already have to some extent, just because the rangers are so few these days.

Well lucky for you that some of the mountain biking user groups have organized to fight these closures and are ready to help provide additional maintenance (to the time they already donate for our parks system) in case the closures go through.

All in all I think this is all a political ploy though.
:crosses fingers:
posted by Big_B at 8:57 AM on June 27, 2011


But if it means no one will monitor what happens and that the idiots on motorcycles, ATVs, and snow mobiles will get to do as they like, it's rotten.

This is what shuttered means. Many parks are "closed" when they drop the arm of the gate down, which keeps out cars but not pedestrians or cyclists. Trash cans won't be emptied, bathrooms (if there are any) will be locked, graffiti will go up and not be painted over or cleaned up. Trails won't be kept clear. Any ongoing efforts to get rid of non-native plants will be halted. And areas that were cleared of non-native plants and planted with natives will go uncared for (unless the park has an active volunteer group, but their access may be restricted by liability laws).

Most people who continue to use parks after they're closed will do so (fairly) responsibly. Some people won't, but a few irresponsible/destructive people can have a big (and permanent - fire season!) impact.
posted by rtha at 9:03 AM on June 27, 2011


Back in 2009, shuttering state parks was described by California State Parks Foundation communications director Jerry Emory as going on "'caretaker status,' which must begin with closing the gates and turning off the utilities. After that, we don't know what it means."

California residents can send a letter to legislators and the governor through the State Parks Foundation here. Non-residents can send a letter of solidarity through the group's page here.
posted by Graygorey at 9:04 AM on June 27, 2011


Great, just great. Once again we're borrowing against the future by cutting costs today.
posted by muddgirl at 9:16 AM on June 27, 2011


I practically grew up in CA State Parks. And it pains me that McGrath State Beach is shutting down. I live far away now, but my parents [and the friends they've/we've been camping with since long before I was born still camp one weekend a month.
My mom called me from McGrath the last time they were there-in tears-regarding it's impending shuttering.
But that's personal and life sucks sometimes.
My biggest concern when I first hears about this some time back is that in addition to the graffitti, trash, etc that everyone has mentioned, these are going to become prime dumping spots-for bodies. And meth labs, or whatever.
Because when you keep out the people who follow rules, you let in the ones who don't give a shit.
posted by atomicstone at 10:04 AM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not if Leslie Knope can do something about it.
posted by dracomarca at 10:22 AM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Take a look at the list of parks to be closed - do you recognize any? If not, that may be part of the reason.

Essentially the argument is that the only worthwhile state parks are those that attract out-of-state or out-of-county visitors - parks that can support vacation visits.

It entirely ignores the other purpose of state parks - local use. I DO happen to recognize many state parks on that list, because I have lived all over California and many of those parks are well-utilized by local residents. One could argue that such parks should be maintained by local rather than state organizations, but that seems to me to be a different argument than "I've never heard of them so they must not be very popular."
posted by muddgirl at 10:43 AM on June 27, 2011


I'd rather not even see it on TV, to be honest. Nature is the part of us that can die, the organic dirt that makes a mockery of our higher ambitions, the clay and ash that puts a lie to the silicon and electricity that we use to interact with the world.

You seem to be under the impression that this attitude makes you seem to be more advanced somehow - more evolved and stuff.

What it makes me wonder is what about the inside of your own head makes you so terrified of being out alone, with no other people around, either in physical or virtual proximity. Your particular existential crisis (and aggressive posturing around it) strikes me as pitiable. What are you so frightened of?
posted by rtha at 11:18 AM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Take a look at the list of parks to be closed - do you recognize any? If not, that may be part of the reason.

I recognize about half of them, and have used/visited/whatever about a quarter of them. Is this a quiz? California is enormous, and it makes sense to not recognize the name of a park that's a 13 hour drive away.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:22 AM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


"But if it means no one will monitor what happens and that the idiots on motorcycles, ATVs, and snow mobiles will get to do as they like, it's rotten. I hope the bears and wolves eat them."

What about the non-idiot motorcyclists, ATV and snowmobile riders? Like the ones who help/volunteer to maintain the parks and trails?
posted by Eideteker at 11:39 AM on June 27, 2011


I'd rather not even see it on TV, to be honest. Nature is the part of us that can die, the organic dirt that makes a mockery of our higher ambitions, the clay and ash that puts a lie to the silicon and electricity that we use to interact with the world.

This is a completely idiotic statement rooted in the worst sort of 19th century Man vs. Nature foofaraw that got us into the effed up situation we are now with regard to disappearing resources and collapsing systems. humans aren't outside nature- we are a part of it, and we rely on its existence for our own. The 2000 square mile Croton Watershed provides 1.2 billion gallons of water daily to NYC. Maintenance for a filtration plant that does the same thing would cost 250 million dollars a year, yet preserving the natural watershed was estimated to be about 10% of the cost of building and maintaining a plant. The natural watershed works because plants use carbon and drop leaves that feed microorganisms that also break down contaminants. The trees and plants allow surface water to slowly penetrate the soil, rather than allowing surface flow to carry contaminants and water right into the nearest large body of water. Instead the water is slowly filtered and collected, as well as being used for growing plant material that provides oxygen and feeds animals in the trophic web.

That's just one tiny example of how working with the environment means a lot more than just a pretty place to camp. I'm not even going to get into the necessity of coastal wetlands for protection from storm surges, or how our global climate is highly modified by the Amazon Basin, or how much money can be saved on heating and cooling a home by planting trees around it, or how forests along salmon runs are far more productive than those along rivers where salmon no longer spawn.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:54 AM on June 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


> That number includes the 20% of the state in National Forests, not usually considered to be protected land

National Forests are considered "protected land", or protected area more specifically.
National Forests are categorized by the World Commission on Protected Areas as IUCN Category VI (Managed Resource Protected Area).
posted by stbalbach at 12:13 PM on June 27, 2011


10th Regiment: point taken.
posted by ook at 12:17 PM on June 27, 2011


Another park I've visited, the Colusa-Sacramento River State Recreation Area, may be taken over by the city of Colusa. The worst part?
The state won't allow the city to make money on the endeavor, and all profits would go into state coffers, city officials said.
The city wants to do this because they will lose quite a bit of local sales tax if the park is completely shuttered.

Here's another interesting tidbit:
In recent years, the Colusa park has been operating at a loss, generating only $56,000 in revenue, but costing about $154,000 to operate and maintain, according to the state.

City officials believe that much of the lost revenue came from the state cutting staff at the facility who were responsible for collecting rental fees from campers.
posted by muddgirl at 12:25 PM on June 27, 2011


What about the non-idiot motorcyclists, ATV and snowmobile riders?

When I go to the woods or the desert, I hope not to hear or smell roaring internal combustion engines. That would seem to be a major point of going to the wilderness for the majority of park visitors.

If you're talking about people using motorized vehicles to maintain the parks because the jobs are necessary to park functioning and they can't be carried out without those machines, well, fine. Better to have a little noise than no parks at all.

But if you're talking about recreational riders roaring around, disrupting the lives of the park wildlife and making it impossible for other park visitors to get away from mechanized noise, well, those guys are having their own fun at the expense of the wildlife and the other park visitors. They're the idiots.
posted by pracowity at 12:30 PM on June 27, 2011


More proof that California is not even remotely Liberal.

Nice sentiment, but not even remotely close. California is right in the middle of its last gasp, budget-wise. Last week, the Democratic legislature handed Gov Jerry Brown (you know, that Liberal guy) its budget, and he flat vetoed it. Enough of the super-rich have fled the state over the last few years to have had their own impact on an already wrecked economy. Corporations moved their HQs to Arizona and Nevada. Too much housing abandoned by the job-chasing middle-class went into foreclosure for property taxes to make any sizable short- or even mid-term impact. The only groups left to tax are small businesses and farms.

These cuts like closing parks are no more than emergency measures. The real cuts have not yet begun. By election eve, Democrats will have to make cuts that would make a Republican blanch in many other states. If they don't, the possibility that Republicans can take this state rises dramatically.

They're the idiots. - Try convincing them of that.
posted by Ardiril at 12:33 PM on June 27, 2011


stbalbach writes "National Forests are categorized by the World Commission on Protected Areas as IUCN Category VI"

They aren't protected like parks are though and it isn't fair to equate National Forests in the US especially the western US with park land in other countries. National Forests allow logging, mining and commercial uses. BC has 13.6% of it's land in parks but by the IUCN Category VI definition somewhere around 94% of BC is protected land.

pracowity writes "But if you're talking about recreational riders roaring around, disrupting the lives of the park wildlife and making it impossible for other park visitors to get away from mechanized noise, well, those guys are having their own fun at the expense of the wildlife and the other park visitors. They're the idiots."

Surely there is enough park and protected land in California to allow both powered and unpowered uses.
posted by Mitheral at 12:37 PM on June 27, 2011


Also, this is a really nice blog and a really nice (but ambitious!) project.
posted by muddgirl at 12:41 PM on June 27, 2011


Indeed. I stick to the moto trails when I'm in the park. And my dollars help keep it open and active the same as yours do. If you want peace and quiet, perhaps you should go to a park that disallows motorized vehicles? (Not sure how you plan to get there, unless it's in bicycling distance.)

There do exist non-idiot motorcyclists (hi!), and some are actually pretty big conservationists. We like having trails and parks as much as you do! Otherwise, we'd have no place to go (and indeed, moto trails get shut down quite frequently, due to any of a mix of: money, safety concerns, and the idiot motorcyclists being idiots; so we have fewer and fewer places to go, which is why more of us are using the parks you wish were quieter).

Thanks for wishing me to be eaten by a bear, though. I hope you'll remember that if a motorcyclist ever rescues you on a trail by getting to a place where an ambulance can't go to get you to urgent care. =(
posted by Eideteker at 12:55 PM on June 27, 2011


This is a feud as old as parks (perhaps in the past it was between hikers and people on horseback, or something) and won't be settled here.
posted by muddgirl at 1:00 PM on June 27, 2011


When you two finish noticing the trees, I would like to show you this forest. ;-P
posted by Ardiril at 1:04 PM on June 27, 2011


The precedent of park closings is what bothers me most. 70 now and maybe another 70 later. If the citizens of California don't speak up then there is no reason why these closings won't continue. I live in Los Angeles country and there are a good number of state parks I visit. The entry fees [to park a vehicle] have risen a lot over the past few years but parking fees won't cover it.

Taxes are the only way. But we are in an anti-tax stage, which is just going to get worse unless people come to the realization that our infrastructure and schools and parks are paid for by taxes - which remain relatively low. I mean, we are willing to pay hundreds of dollars a year on iPhone/ iPad apps and lottery tickets but go crazy when a fraction of that amount is in taxes.

What I fear most is that someday these areas will become a developers paradise. I'm sure a hefty check from a real estate tycoon for some nice park land would be tempting for some politicians.
posted by Rashomon at 1:05 PM on June 27, 2011


I responded above to a dig at mountain bikers, but Eideteker's comments with regard to motrocycles reminds me: ALL users need to band together to help save these parks that we love. Fighting against other each other isn't going to help right now.
posted by Big_B at 1:16 PM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


What I fear most is that someday these areas will become a developers paradise. I'm sure a hefty check from a real estate tycoon for some nice park land would be tempting for some politicians.

Yeah, that's something brought up obliquely in the Colusa article: A lot of these areas were gifted to the state from cities, counties, or private donors. A lot of them (but surely not all of them) have restrictions on future sale, but as we've seen in Texas that doesn't always stop the state from trying.
posted by muddgirl at 1:23 PM on June 27, 2011


The beaches from Malibu to San Pedro may still be open, but that doesn't mean the bathrooms will be:
The county's Department of Beaches and Harbors says that budget cuts will mean some restrooms won't open until as late as 11 a.m. in the summer.

posted by Room 641-A at 1:30 PM on June 27, 2011


"This is a feud as old as parks (perhaps in the past it was between hikers and people on horseback, or something) and won't be settled here."

Yup, just pointing out we're not all idiots. Plenty of drivers already have a hate-on for motorcyclists, and treat us like we're either not there or actively target us (at the very least, I've heard "wouldn't brake" comments a number of times before; thankfully not here, but as with some things, the same "joke" over and over again gets not-funny fast). Just pointing out we're people, too (some of whom have the same interests as you).
posted by Eideteker at 2:30 PM on June 27, 2011


I'd rather not even see it on TV, to be honest. Nature is the part of us that can die, the organic dirt that makes a mockery of our higher ambitions, the clay and ash that puts a lie to the silicon and electricity that we use to interact with the world.

It's a joke, right? An attempt at irony, or, or ..... or a really dark, straight-faced satire of techno-utopians?

Please tell me it's a joke!
posted by benito.strauss at 4:09 PM on June 27, 2011


>it isn't fair to equate National Forests in the US especially the western US with park land in other countries.

Dude, I compared all "protected areas" in both places, which is IMO the only fair way to do it. It's apples to apples. If you want to drill down and only compare certain types of protected areas, then lets do that, but it's a different conversation. CA will have less, but Victoria will have less also. The problem is I'm not sure we have the data for specific types of protected areas, that's why I stuck to all types of protected areas as a measure, since that data is available on Wikipedia. But feel free to research and post your results.
posted by stbalbach at 4:24 PM on June 27, 2011


Gov Brown and the Dems have agreed on a budget based on a sudden surge in gross revenues and voter approval of a future tax vote. That's officially mailing the check on the due date and hoping it doesn't clear before payday. Expect many more parks closing, as well as many state employees paid again with IOUs.
posted by Ardiril at 4:38 PM on June 27, 2011


McGrath, I'll miss you.

Lots of good memories of bodysurfing, cookouts, and boogie boarding there when I was a kid.

What a shame.
posted by Old Man McKay at 5:00 PM on June 27, 2011


California's Golden Parks with Huell Howser:

Year Begun: 2002
Year of Lastest [sic!] Episode: 2010
Total Years Filmed: 9
Total Shows Filmed: 68

The series is now available for free at the California State Parks website.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:21 PM on June 27, 2011


stbalbach writes "Dude, I compared all 'protected areas' in both places, which is IMO the only fair way to do it. It's apples to apples. If you want to drill down and only compare certain types of protected areas, then lets do that, but it's a different conversation."

I don't know what the situation is in Australia. My objection was mostly with the lumping of National Forests and BLM in with parks as protected land. I realize they qualify under the definition you linked to but that definition seems overly inclusive. For example Yucca Mountain being BLM land would be included in the percentage protected (if it was in California of course). That kind of land isn't what the layperson would consider protected. IMO BLM land isn't protected in any meaningful way and National Forests are only somewhat better.

I'd be interested in the situation in Australia if anyone can provide insight. For example are the massive stations one hears about here public or privately owned?
posted by Mitheral at 6:31 PM on June 27, 2011


"It's a joke, right? An attempt at irony, or, or ..... or a really dark, straight-faced satire of techno-utopians?

Please tell me it's a joke!"


It's no joke. You're going to die, and decay. Though that itself may be a bit of a joke depending on your sense of humor.
posted by Eideteker at 6:51 PM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Stbalbach, the simple answer is, getting accurate figures that compares like with like would be very difficult to do. I can assure you that the Wikipedia data is flat out wrong, and you have not compared "protected areas to protected areas". I can't point you towards correct data though, the World Conservation Union might have some approximate data somewhere, but even then it would be rough.

Mitheral, even every State in Australia does it a little bit differently. We do not formally use the IUCN categories in Victoria, though we acknowledge them. Roughly, we use categories I to IV.

The large cattle stations are 'pastoral leases', officially Crown land but with exclusive access rights to the leaseholder. This starts to get very complicated with native title issues.

Back in Victoria, we have the aforementioned parks and reserves, managed by Parks Victoria and about 17% of the State, and State forests, managed by the Dept of Sustainability and Environment, at ~15% of the State, which Stbalbach would call protected areas but no Australian would - they're partly subject to timber harvesting, firewood collection and have more intensive recreational uses (dirt bikes, 4WDing) than parks offer.
posted by wilful at 7:07 PM on June 27, 2011


Willful and Mitheral, both of you are arguing that the average person or layperson wouldn't define this or that type of land as "protected". But that doesn't matter, Wilful's original proposition was that Victoria is doing a better job than CA - so how do we objectively measure it? The universal term for this is "protected area" with specific definitions. This was created because a universal objective way was needed to measure land that is controlled by regulation. There's no other way to do it. It may not be exact, but it will give a basic idea of how CA and Victoria compare.

If you don't want to compare all protected areas, than which categories do you personally consider "protected"? Personally I live on the East Coast of the USA, settled heavily since the 1600s with perhaps 10% of protected area of any type, where WallMarts and housing tracks stretch from the sea to the mountains, so I hear things like "My objection was mostly with the lumping of National Forests and BLM in with parks as protected land." and kinda chuckle because you have no idea how good it is to have protected land or what it really means if those lands were not protected.
posted by stbalbach at 8:09 AM on June 28, 2011


Actually Stballbach, my proposition was that we're still keen to expand our parks and that more and more peole are seeking access to them. I raised no issue of percentages of land protected, that was your point not mine. But the trajectories are different in VIC compared to CA.

Though in direct response to your question, Categories I to IV, as I said.
posted by wilful at 9:29 PM on June 28, 2011


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